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Running: Safety First

Updated on April 21, 2007

In many of my running and outdoor exercise articles you will see me constantly say "safety first" so I wanted to take some time to explain safety while running and give you some key pointers on keeping yourself safe. The number one thing is to always let someone know you are going out! Even if it is just to let your boss or another employee at work know that you run every Tuesday and Thursday morning (that way if God forbid you don't show up at work they know something happened on your run and can send out some help). Or if you live alone calling someone when you get home at night after your run. I always call my mom when I get back in from my run, and you better believe if I don't she is calling, and if there is no answer she is sending someone out to find me!

Here are some good tips you should think about before, during, and after your run to keep yourself safe!! Remember SAFETY FIRST, always!!!

Before the Run

  • Try to get a running partner.
  • Leave word with someone or write down where you plan to run and when you will return.
  • Carry some I. D. and change for a phone call.
  • Take a whistle with you.
  • Wear a running vest (like the one at the right) so cars abnd other people can see you.
  • Do not wear a radio/headset/earphones or anything which distracts you so that you are completely aware of your environment.
  • Avoid unpopular areas, deserted streets, lonely trails - and especially avoid unlighted routes at night.
  • Vary the route and the time of day that you run.
  • Run in familiar areas. Be aware of emergency phones and how they work, note the location of neighbors you trust along your route.
  • Know where police are usually to be found and where businesses, stores, offices are likely to be open and active.

During the Run

  • Always stay alert. The more aware you are, the less vulnerable you are. Think about possible escape routes in case of a confrontation.
  • Take notice of who is ahead of you and who is behind you. Know where the nearest public sites are with some general activity - there is usually safety in numbers.
  • When in doubt, follow your intuition and avoid potential trouble. If something seems suspicious, do not panic, but run in a different direction.
  • Run clear of parked cars, bushes, dark areas.
  • Run against traffic so that you can observe the approach of automobiles.
  • If the same car cruises past you more than once, take down even a partial license number and make it obvious that you are aware of its presence (but keep your distance).

If Confronted

  • Run toward populated areas, busy streets, open businesses.
  • Ignore jeers and verbal harassment. Keep moving.
  • Use discretion in acknowledging strangers. Be friendly, but keep your distance and keep moving.
  • Do not approach a car to give directions, or the time of day. Point toward the nearest police or information source, shrug your shoulders, but keep moving. If you feel you must respond, do it while moving.
  • Do not panic. Do not run toward a more isolated area.

If Attacked

  • Keep as calm as possible. Try to fix a description of the attacker in your mind.
  • Do not show fear or plead - this intensifies aggression in most cases.
  • Try to talk to the aggressor and look for an escape opportunity - a moment of indecision or distraction on the attacker's part.
  • Do not fight or struggle with the attacker unless there is clearly no other way out, especially if you are untrained in self defense.

I hope this can help keep you safe- I just can't stress how important safety is!!! Please let me know if you have any questions or any other safety tips to add to this, I would welcome them- anything to keep us all safer!!

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